Newswise — SAN DIEGO: SreyRam Kuy, MD, MHS, FACS, received the American College of Surgeons (ACS) Mary Edwards Walker Inspiring Women in Surgery Award last night during the Convocation ceremony that preceded the opening of the College’s 2017 Clinical Congress. Dr. Kuy, a general surgeon, is associate chief of staff at the Michael E. DeBakey Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Houston, Tex., one of the largest and most complex VA medical centers in the country. The award was developed by the ACS Women in Surgery Committee (WiSC) and recognizes significant contributions to the advancement of women in the field of surgery.
Dr. Kuy was recognized for her work to benefit low-income women in the Medicaid system and to improve surgical quality within the VA system. She was the first general surgeon to serve in her previous role as chief medical officer of Medicaid for the Louisiana Department of Health. Under her leadership, Louisiana became the first state to develop a Zika prevention strategy for pregnant Medicaid patients, and women with breast cancer were able to gain access to reconstructive operations and testing. Dr. Kuy also led the program’s development of a cohesive opioid strategy and led efforts to coordinate medical disaster relief during historic flooding in Louisiana in 2016. Her work in quality improvement reduced patient morbidity and mortality, and improved veteran access to care through clinic efficiency at Overton Brooks VA Medical Center, Shreveport, La., where she was the first woman to serve as a full time general surgeon.
“The Women in Surgery Committee is very proud to announce that our second Mary Edwards Walker Inspiring Women in Surgery Award recipient is Dr. SreyRam Kuy,” said Rosemary Kozar, MD, FACS, Chair of the WiSC. “Her personal story of courage and perseverance and devotion to improving access to health care for all who need it embodies the unwavering commitment of Dr. Mary Edwards Walker to her country, her profession, and her success in the face of adversity.”
Dr. Kuy was born in Cambodia during a period of genocide orchestrated by the Khmer Rouge regime. Her family fled to a refugee camp in Thailand, where Dr. Kuy and her mother and sister were severely injured by a rocket propelled grenade. A volunteer Red Cross surgeon operated on them, saving her life, and Dr. Kuy said those events contributed to why she’s a surgeon today and why she chose to work with medically underserved patients. The family moved to the United States in 1981.
“Dr. Kuy has an amazing story that captures the American spirit, personifying the resilience of the award for which she is being nominated,” said Quyen D. Chu, MD, FACS, chief of the division of surgical oncology and vice-chair of academic affairs at Louisiana State University Health Science Center, Shreveport.
Dr. Kuy became a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons (FACS) in 2016, and currently serves on the ACS Committee on Diversity Issues. During her first year as an ACS member, she received an ACS scholarship to attend the executive leadership program in health policy and management at Brandeis University.
On a national level, she was recently selected to be a Presidential Leadership Scholar in a joint bipartisan leadership program taught by former presidents George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and George H. W. Bush.
The WiSC noted, “Her unselfish initiatives and continued dedication to the less fortunate, both male and female, reflect the unwavering commitment of Mary Edwards Walker to our profession.”
The Mary Edwards Walker Inspiring Women in Surgery Award is named for Mary Edwards Walker, MD, the first female surgeon to be employed by the U.S. Army and the only woman in the 1855 graduating class of Syracuse Medical School. Dr. Walker is the only woman to have received the Congressional Medal of Honor. Her extensive commitment to the surgical profession has helped pave the way for the women surgeons of today.
Editor’s note: A photo is available from the Office of Public Information of the American College of Surgeons, email: [email protected].
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About SreyRam Kuy, MD, MHS, FACS
Dr. Kuy received her medical degree from Oregon Health and Science University School of Medicine, Portland, Ore. She completed her residency in general surgery at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio and at the Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee. Dr. Kuy also earned a masters of health science degree at Yale University School of Medicine, where she completed a fellowship with the Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholars Program.
About the American College of Surgeons
The American College of Surgeons is a scientific and educational organization of surgeons that was founded in 1913 to raise the standards of surgical practice and improve the quality of care for all surgical patients. The College is dedicated to the ethical and competent practice of surgery. Its achievements have significantly influenced the course of scientific surgery in America and have established it as an important advocate for all surgical patients. The College has more than 80,000 members and is the largest organization of surgeons in the world. Its annual Clinical Congress is one of the largest international meetings of surgeons in the world. For more information, visit www.facs.org.